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Holmes plays in senior all-star game
ORONO -- It was certainly a rewarding career for Ben Holmes, who was able to experience one final fling while playing baseball in the Maine East-West Senior All-Star Game. The contest was held Friday night at Mahaney Diamond on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono. Holmes, a recent Dirigo graduate, was one of eight finalists for the 21st annual Dr. John W. Winkin Award, symbolic of the state’s Mr. Baseball. The award, for the state’s top high school senior baseball players, was presented by the Maine Baseball Coaches Association. Interestingly, prior to the start of the game, dark clouds, thunder and a light rain fell threatening to disrupt the festivities, but the skies cleaned and full sun shine shone across the artificial surface.
Ben Wessel of Scarborough was named Mr. Baseball for 2012. The Winkin Award is named after the legendary University of Maine baseball coach who guided the Black Bears to six appearances in the College World Series. Former Cougar Jon Smith was a Winkin finalist.
Holmes swan song had its up and downs, beginning with taking the mound to pitch the third inning. A strike out and a grounder to shortstop produced two quick outs, but Tyler Eddy of Orono smashed a high fly that bounced over the leftfield fence for a ground-rule double. The next batter, Corbin Hyde of Lewiston (Winkin finalist), took the first pitch for a ball and then hit the next offering up the middle for an RBI single, giving the East a 2-1 lead. Holmes struck out J.T. Whitten of Waterville (finalist) to end the inning. Jed Clarke of Gould Academy pitched the fourth inning and allowed a run.
The East led 5-1, when the West led off the seventh with a double, but the runner was promptly thrown out attempting to steal. East pitcher Adam Geel of Calais was ineffective and Holmes singled to load the bases. Clark hit the first of back-to-back RBI doubles and an RBI triple gave the West a 6-5 lead. It was short lived because the East scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the inning and held on for a 9-6 win.
Holmes and Dirigo won its second Class C state championship game in three years, 6-1 against Calais. He was the lone starter back from the Cougar state team that had beat Calais 4-2. This spring, he was the ace of the Cougars staff going 12-1 with a microseism earned run average less than one. The right hander established a school record with 21 career pitching wins; breaking the previous mark set by former Cougar Ryan Lafleur.
Holmes was extremely durable and proved his worth in big games, especially in June; no-hitter against Wiscasset, a one-hitter in eight-against Telstar in the regular season finale and a two-hitter in the WM semifinals as the top-ranked Cougars defeated No. 4 Hall-Dale, 3-0. Holmes hadn't allowed an earned run in his last 31-plus innings of work, before Calais scored an earned run in the third inning of the Class C state game.
Holmes, who also played third base, was the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year. The cleanup batter hit over .400. He will be enrolling in Husson University and majoring in Physical Therapy.